I read an article a couple weeks ago about a first round draft pick that turned out to be a major draft bust. If you don’t follow sports this means the player did not match up to the expectations people had for him. I don’t recall the name of the player or the sport. I only mention it because the article mentions that he knows he did not meet the expectations of the team and he also knows why. When asked about it, the player mentions his inability to take criticism or receive feedback. Specifically he mentions defensiveness. He said when his coaches would give him constructive feedback that he immediately got defensive and none of us will listen once we get defensive. I have had the opportunity to give feedback as well as be on the receiving end of feedback many times at work in a professional atmosphere. At work we are expected to be open to coaching and if you are a valued employee you will be expected to give constructive feedback as well. This is how great companies are built. If you have been around very long you have seen both gratitude for your coaching as well as contempt for your coaching. As I read the article about the ball player I immediately wrote down the word “defensiveness.” We were programmed by the teaching we sit under Sunday after Sunday to be defensive. We were programmed to say we are open to God’s leading but are we? The ball player is going to go down as a major draft pick bust and in his own words the defensiveness to coaching is mostly to blame. The stakes are much higher for us. We have a very short lifetime to be coached by the word of God. During this very short life that we have, we are given the opportunity to build upon the foundation our Apostle Paul built. Paul built upon Jesus Christ. We are specifically told to build upon the foundation Paul started. This is no way makes Paul a better “coach” than Christ. If you are a member of the body of Christ you are required to follow Christ by following Paul. A good reminder is what Jesus said in John 13:20 “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me: In Acts 22:18 Jesus told Paul to “get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me” Just a few verses later Paul rehearses that Jesus told him specifically “Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. Paul is our apostle sent directly by Jesus himself to the Gentiles. It is my personal experience that Christians by and large are defensive to the things Paul taught. I understand we were programmed to be this way. The second we become defensive we hinder our learning. Most Christians don’t want a challenge. They want to be told they have it all right. I’m not saying I have it all figured out, I’m saying the Bible, when it’s rightly divided, has all the answers to the confusion in Christianity. Don’t be gullible, but be “ready” as Paul says to listen and compare what is said to scripture. This requires you to fight off the preprogramming we have to get defensive when challenged. This truly is the hard part. Yes! I was defensive for a long time in my Christian life. Now I understand better. I was wrong and I changed. Now I understand that I MUST be open to listen, compare, study and believe differently when I find out I’m wrong. By the way, this is required of you as well. Peter himself admitted he was wrong when confronted by Paul as to the truth of the gospel. Read Galatians chapter 2 for the details. If Peter can realize he is wrong and change then so can we.
I just attended the funeral of a very special person that I had the privilege of knowing. She was taken from the earth much too early. God did not take her, like most Christians would say, actually cancer did. God did not give her cancer, the evil world around us did. The false teaching of Calvinism robs Christians of so much. Sadly, this system is part of every corner of Christianity. It blames God for things he had nothing to do with. It causes people to hate God for things he did not do. There is peace in this horrible time because she knew the gospel that saves. Not the vague and hard to understand gospel you most likely hear every Sunday, but the clear, concise, and easy to understand gospel as Paul teaches. Today I heard an announcer on the radio say that “there is nothing more important than your life.” This is a patently false statement. There is something much more important than your life. What is this? Your eternal life. The book of James describes our life as a vapor that appears for a “little time” and vanishes away. During this little time here on earth you have the responsibility to make the decisions that will affect your eternity. Jesus told those around him in Matthew chapter 10 not to fear those that can kill the body but to fear him who can destroy both the body and soul in Hell. It is a Biblical FACT that there is more than one gospel in the Bible. Peter made a monumental and utterly important statement in Acts 15:11 after the Jerusalem council that everyone is now saved under Paul’s gospel. Why did he do this? Because the gospel of the Kingdom that Peter had been preaching was now being suspended and Paul’s gospel of grace alone was now the only gospel to be preached. Why is Christianity in such disagreement over the doctrine of salvation? Because your church and your pastor probably preaches these separate and distinct gospels as being the same thing. NOTHING could be further from the truth. I can have peace because I know my friend knew the gospel that saves TODAY clearly and completely. Putting your faith and trust in Paul’s gospel of grace alone is the ONLY way a soul is saved today. Mixing Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom to Israel and Paul’s gospel of grace to ALL is the reason why all the denominations don’t believe the same way. Paul’s gospel is the Biblical FACT that we must put our faith and trust (Eph 1:13-14) is Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient atonement for our sins. Jesus DID NOT preach about his death, burial and resurrection while he walked this earth!! Jesus preached that a kingdom is available to ISRAEL if they would repent and be baptized. Friend please ignore the covenant tradition your church teaches and know FOR SURE you have salvation. Choose to trust THE BIBLE not your church or anyone in it. Your eternal future hangs in the balance. Jesus never had a ministry to gentiles while he walked on the earth. Jesus sent Paul to you! Paul is your apostle. Salvation is only clear and understandable when you rightly divide your Bible. If you doubt this for one second, I dare you to read everything Jesus said about salvation! Do you have the integrity to do this? Read EVERYTHING Jesus said about salvation and list all the requirements. Then read everything the disciples said about salvation and list the requirements. Read Peter, James, John and list the REQUIREMENTS for salvation. Then read PAUL!!! I can tell you that you will find ONE requirement when your read Paul, BELIEF! Belief alone. Belief in Christ’s death and resurrection. (I Cor 15:1-4) Right division gives us so much I could not convey it all in 1000 blogs. But what matters the most? Right division of the Bible conveys the simple plan of salvation required today in the age of grace, free from church tradition and man-made systems. Trust your apostle, whom Jesus called and sent TO YOU! Or follow your pastor’s tradition and I pray you weave through the maze to somehow find the truth.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul